Acid throwingAcid throwing, also called an acid attack or vitriolage, is a form of violent assault It is defined as the act of throwing acid onto the body of a person "with the intention of injuring or disfiguring [them] out of jealousy or revenge". Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones.The long term consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body.These attacks are most common in Afgahinstan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and other nearby countries. Globally, at least 1500 people in 20 countries are attacked in this way yearly, 80% of whom are female and somewhere between 40% and 70% under 18 years of age.Objectives:To pilot new and innovative, communitybased approaches to prevent acid and other forms of burns violence against women and girls in Pakistan by improving response from the justice, police and health sectors; mobilizing communities to monitor implementation of legislation and advocate for legislation reform; and encouraging individual responsibility to end this form of genderbased violence.WHY TORTURE WOMEN:A Culture against Females in Pakistan * In November 2003, Mansab Mai, 30, became yet another victim of acid burns when she died 13 days after being admitted to Nishtar Hospital in Multan, a traditionally
patriarchal city in southern Pakistan. She alleged that her inlaws had poured acid over her following a dispute with her husband over attending a family function at her parents house. She had no right to exercise her free will andattend the event. No charges were pressed against her killers perpetrators of acid burnings are rarely punished. 2 The police did not even register a case, and Mansab s community blindly accepted the acts of domestic violence against her.For centuries, many Pakistani women have been slaves to social and cultural restrictions that are reflective of genderbased injustices in the region. Whereas most of Asia has experienced considerable fertility decline in recent decades with increased female liberation, education and employment a handful of countries, including Pakistan. Pakistan belongs to a part of the world where women s status is disadvantaged by systematic brutalisation. Human development indicators such as the population s sex ratio (proportion of females to males), literacy levels, and labour force participation are abysmally low, while statistics for maternal mortality and morbidity, fertility and crimes against women are particularly high. As an example, according to the groundbreaking article More than 100 Million Women are Missing by Amartya Sen, the ratio of the number of women to the number of men in Pakistan is an appallingly low 9:10.Social and Cultural Reasons for Domestic Violence in Pakistan:Several factors build upon each other to form the societal bias against women in
Pakistan, leading to the collective denial of their rights: Social Conditions of Men: The unemployment, poverty, and lack of education among Pakistani men are contributing factors to violence against women in the society. Common traits that encourage violence among the committers of domestic violence include intoxication, illegal arms possession, and psychological frustration. Perhaps the biggest driving force behind domestic violence is the traditional notion of women as weak subjects created to serve male needs and egos, and as objects that can be possessed.Responsibility to produce children: Women are commonly perceived as the reproductive machines of society. Moreover, it is deemed to be a woman s responsibility to be fertile so that her husband s family line can continue. An infertile woman can face brutal treatment as well; nor does she get any sympathy from her husband and inlaws. Such is the level of illiteracy and subjugation of women that even a sterile man would lay the blame on his wife one way or anotherStatic social values: Every culture has its own value as a unifying set of traditions among a people. However, cultures are not static. They are continually evolving in response to interactions with other cultures, needs of society and demands of the modem age. While tradition may have emphasised certain norms in the past, this does not preclude tradition being shaped by new realities. My investigations for this project have revealed that even the traditions of honour in Pakistan, which are used to justify violence against women, have themselves undergone change: they have broadened in concept and been debased and distorted by more generalised corruption and violence in society. The honour system derives from tribal traditions in Pakistan that are often in
conflict with other traditions in national life, such as Islam and liberal democracy.Moreover, the parents of a female victim would encourage her stay at the husband s house, no matter how harsh the circumstances are. The control of the saas and the attitude of the parents of a married woman both add to the layers of secrecy about her mistreatment. The saas would always have the upper hand in the family and would cover up her brutal attitude, while the parents would always downplay the mistreatment their daughter faces as minor and routine skirmishes.Definition of Domestic Violence:According to the United Nations Declaration in 2002 on the Elimination ofViolence against Women, "Any act of genderbased violence that results in, or likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary depriving of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life is a crime." When these crimes occur in the womans private life, within the family, it can be termed domestic violence. For example, domestic violence can mean the abuse of a wife by her husband, or a niece by her uncle.Ratio in Pakistan:According to New York Times reporter Nichloas D. kristof, acid attacks are at an all time high in Pakistan and increasing every year. The Pakistani attacks he describes are typically the work of husbands against their wives who have "dishonored them".According to another New York Times article, in 2011 there have been counted 150 acid attacks, after 65 in 2010.
At least 183 women were recorded to have died of burn injuriesmore than half of them in Sindh. These women were victims of another common and brutal crimesetting women on fire or pouring acid on them.Burning of WomenAfter reading a survey by Aurat Foundation of Lahore that attributed 50% ofstove deaths to accidents and 50% to murder or suicide, I realised the extent of crime involved in such burnings. A police officer, Farkhanda Iqbal, reported that each day two or three married women are burnt alive by their husbands or inlaws. Out of 294 cases of burning of women, 217 resulted in fatalities in the year 2002, according to data collected from just five hospitals of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. These 294 cases concerned wives, daughters and sisters left at the mercy of flames or gases. FIRs (policereports) for only 4% of cases were registered, while the rest ended in compromises through bribery or armtwisting due to which police did not register the crimes.Approximately 53% of the victims were below the age of 20 years.In very few cases, the transgressing men may have a valid plea such as theunfaithfulness of wives. Taking their cue from the frequent burning of women, these enraged men punish their unfaithful wives by setting them on fire. Similarly, fathers andbrothers often feel entitled to chastise their adult female relatives. From a very humanitarian perspective, these women should have the right to make their own decisions. The Progressive
Acid ThrowingOver the past ten years, cases of throwing corrosive acid on women have becomequite common. Disgruntled men seek revenge or punishment of women by purchasing cheap sulphuric or nitric acid and surprising female targets with unexpected attacks. Such attacks leave the bodies of the sufferers severely desecrated. One small bottle of the acid is sufficient to ruin the life of a woman forever. Sulphuric and nitric acids used as cleaning agents are available at most departmental stores. These acids cause skin tissue to disintegrate, exposing the bones underneath, as in most cases of acid burn victims. I fail to understand why such items are allowed to be sold openly in the market, when their hideous use to burn women is known. This is tantamount to culpable indifference on the part of lawenforcing authorities.The sale of all acids should be on permit only, especially in Southern Punjabcities of Multan and Bahawalpur, because during the last four months of 2002 alone, 55 cases of acidthrowing were recorded there. Besides Southern Punjab, acid throwing is also becoming more common in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The Progressive Women Association alone has dealt with 1500 cases of acidburn victims since 1994. It also stated that in the last five years, 5000 acid burning victims have been reported in a radius of just 200 miles around the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.Most of the survivors of acid attacks experience a sudden change in their lifestyledue to discontinuation of education or work during their lengthy recovery. The victims face social isolation due to
physical disfigurement, damaging their selfesteem and economic position. Interviewing various families, I found out that only some relatives sympathise with burn victims, while most suggest a wrongdoing on part of the victims.The issue of acid violence was brought to international attention by this year’s Oscarwinning documentary Saving Face. Every year, many women in Pakistan are victims of brutal acid attacks. The Acid Survivors Foundation of Pakistan deals with over 100 cases a year, but estimates that the real number of people affected is far higher. These attacks – frequently linked to domestic violence or revenge by rejected men – are made possible by the easy availability of acid for use in the cotton industry Acid attacks are by no means an exclusively Pakistani problem: as ObaidChinoy points out, they happen wherever women are disenfranchised: Cambodia, Columbia, Nepal, and Thailand, to name but a few.Overall Cases of Violence against Women : ● Punjab: 32 cases of acid throwing ● Sindh :137 ● Balochistan : 7 ● KPK : 0According to the report, from April to June of this year more than 220 women reported being burned, 40 of whom died as a result of their injuries which can be extensive. When acid is thrown in a person’s face, skin tissue melts on contact exposing the bone below the flesh that may also dissolve from the acid. If acid reaches the eyes, they are permanently damaged often
leaving survivors with the use of only one or no eyes.What’s worse? According to the report women are not being given appropriate medical care and few seek legal action after being attacked. Many cases are also not even reported to police so the actual numbers of victims are far worse than we think.“Violence against women in Pakistan is endemic,” Nisha Varia, deputy director of women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch told The Media Line.” “We try to apply pressure so that the government recognizes these crimes, prosecutes the perpetrators and provides services to the victims.”Acid and burn attacks are also not only isolated in Pakistan. It is also common practice in Bangladesh, India, and other South Asian countries. In Bangladesh, the Acid Survivors Foundations has been working for nearly ten years to eliminate acid violence in the country where there is currently an acid attack every two days. Asimilar Organization also exists in Pakistan.Violence against women exists everywhere. We know this. I also know that I can no longer sit idly as governments around the world fail to protect these victims. Thanks